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Keywords:

  • pumpkin seed oil;
  • flavour;
  • carotenoids;
  • α- and γ-tocopherol;
  • fatty acids;
  • nutraceutical foodstuff

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) seed oil is a common product in Slovenia, Hungary and Austria and is considered a preventive agent for various pathologies, particularly prostate diseases. These properties are related to its high content of carotenoids and liposoluble vitamins. In this study the carotenoid (lutein and zeaxanthin), vitamin E (α- and γ-tocopherol) and fatty acid contents of 12 samples of commercial pumpkin seed oil were investigated together with the composition of the volatile fraction resulting from the roasting process.

RESULTS: The aromatic profile obtained from the commercial samples was directly related to the intensity of the roasting process of the crushed pumpkin seeds. The roasting temperature played a crucial role in the concentrations of volatile substances originating from Strecker degradation, lipid peroxidation and Maillard reaction.

CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that high-temperature roasting leads to the production of an oil with intense aromatic characteristics, while mild conditions, generally employed to obtain an oil with professed therapeutic characteristics, lead to a product with minor characteristic pumpkin seed oil aroma. The nutraceutical properties of the product are confirmed by the high content of α- and γ-tocopherol and carotenoids. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry